PTI6_12_2019_000211B-(Read-Only)
A worker builds a wall with sandbags to create a barricade against waves of the Arabian Sea during a storm, near Kochi. Image Credit: PTI

Thiruvananthapuram: Nearly a year after floods ravaged Kerala, as another monsoon arrives, the state famed for its tourism sector is upbeat about increased tourist arrivals during the monsoon season.

Indicating that the state had bounced back after the floods, tourist arrivals in Kerala during January-March this year grew 6.82 per cent to 4.61 million, including over 422,000 foreign tourists.

The state is a strong player in the medical tourism sector, too, and the monsoon months of June and July are considered best for ayurvedic rejuvenation treatments.

“A number of corporate teams are also now preferring meetings and conferences in Kerala during the monsoon months, and this year we are expecting a significant number of Arab tourists in the post-Ramadan weeks”, Shirkant Wakharkar, general manager of the Grand Hyatt in Kochi, told Gulf News.

In a new development, many youngsters are opting for Kerala and the monsoon time to hold their weddings. Wakharkar says that within the wedding tourism segment, a new segment — renew your vow — has emerged, with couples celebrating their wedding anniversaries at premium properties and destinations in Kerala.

The Confederation of Indian Industry announced last week that it would partner hospitals in Kerala to campaign for increased medical tourism prospects for the state. CII and hospitals in the state will organise the Kerala Health Tourism (KHT) conference in Kochi on July 3 and 4, which will be attended by an international delegation comprising ambassadors and consuls general from nine countries.

The medical tourism industry in India is valued at $9 billion, of which Kerala has only a modest 6-7 per cent share, and the CII is aiming to highlight the international class medical facilities available in the state. Kerala has as many as 33 hospitals with NABH accreditation, and the Kerala Medical Value Trust Society is set to launch a web portal aimed at medical tourists.

Kerala Tourism recently joined the Indian edition of TikTok’s global in-app travel campaign #TikTokTravel to promote the state as a world class travel destination. Kerala Tourism director P. Bala Kiran said Kerala was one of the first Indian state tourism boards to be on the TikTok platform.